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3 Week Chicks with Watery Eyes

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hello!  I am asking for help with  my nearly 3 week old chicks.  Yesterday I noticed that my Easter Eggers (which have wider eyes in general than my Blue Barred Rock mixes) have very watery eyes.  There is no build up, sneezing, water from beaks, or lethargy.  I did find that I was getting some dust accumulation from the pine shavings that I use for their bedding.  Is it possible their eyes are watering just from irritants due to insufficient air circulation and the pine shavings?  Tonight I cleaned out all their bedding, laid fresh bedding, opened up the other window for better air circulation (while still maintaining a reasonable temp with the heat lamp), and I've feed them some hard boiled egg the last two nights.  They are eating well, but I'm wondering if I should be concerned about this being the onset of illness or if there are any other actions/factors I should be considering.  Thank you for your help! 

post #2 of 9

Hello, looks like your chicks have a respiratory problem, that or their coop is rather dusty. Some common respiratory diseases are Mycoplasma Gallisepticum, Infectious Coryza, Chronic Respiratory Disease and Infectious Bronchitis. That is only a few. To properly diagnose these chicks you will have to take them to an avian vet. Watery eyes is usually the very first symptom so if it is a respiratory issue other signs will occur afterwards. The first thing you should do is separate infected chicks, many respiratory diseases are highly contagious and can devastate a whole flock if not controlled. Most are caused by airborne bacteria.
The chickens won't look lethargic until they're at deaths door (most respiratory diseases are like that). Do you know if they have been vaccinated?

These birds need to be treated immediately, almost every respiratory disease reacts to certain antibiotics. Some of the most effective drugs are Baytril and Tylosin (both can only be purchased from a vet). Otherwise there is many soluble powder medications such as Oxymav and Triple C (these can be purchased from a pet shop/ feed store but they are not as good as Baytril or Tylosin). Until you can get them medication put them in a separate pen and put some chopped chillis and partly crushed garlic cloves in their water (Chilli helps with respiratory disease and garlic kills pathogens which helps establish a strong immune system). If you have any soluble vitamins/electrolytes they'd benefit from that too. Keep on feeding them boiled egg as you've been doing.

I hope this helps,
Cuckoo Orpington.

post #3 of 9

I'm far from an expert, and i hope that one chips in soon. You may wish to change the type of wood shavings that you use as bedding (not cedar though), and improving the ventilation may help. Some respiratory issues are bacterial, fungal, allergic reactions or viral.


You could consider separating the affected birds from your healthy ones, putting them all on vitamin supplements / electrolytes to help give their immune system a boost. I'd do this ASAP and then follow the collective advice from all posts.


All the best


"The whole problem of the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." Bertrand Russell
"The whole problem of the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." Bertrand Russell
post #4 of 9
I probably would not immediately start antibiotics for watery eyes without other symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, chirping, or gasping. Where did your chicks come from? Respiratory diseases such as MG snd others may not show symptoms until they are a couple of weeks old. Right now, I would look at irritation from ammonia odors or the dusty bedding, or even an infection such as E.coli from their hatching eggs. Separating them might be good, but it is difficult to set up two brooders, I realize. Let us know if anything changes.
Edited by Eggcessive - 4/21/16 at 6:43am
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

I hatched these chicks myself.  They have not had exposure to other birds or the outdoors yet, but they also were not vaccinated.  They have been on medicated starter from the beginning and I am putting electrolytes in their water.  When I cleaned everything last night I did find that there was a lot of dust in the room from the pine shavings.  This morning after cleaning everything, putting in fresh bedding, and increasing circulation in the room the affected birds eyes were slightly less watery, with only one of the five still looking like it was experiencing any significant irritation.  Someone locally suggested that I use saline drops with that particular bird.  Does anyone else second that recommendation?  All are still very active without any other symptoms, so I am hesitant to jump to an antibiotic, but I also don't want to wait too long and end up losing birds.  Does anyone else have recommendations about bedding that would create less dust (I know cedar is not recommended).  I will absolutely try the chillis and garlic tonight and look into obtaining the antibiotic option.  I'm also wondering if anyone knows if coconut/coconut water is permissible for chickens.  My husband makes an amazing remedy involving cooking coconut in an open flame.  It ends up being a brown liquid that tastes smoky and sweet, but has literally rid me of personal respiratory infections.  I just don't know if it is safe for chickens and am afraid to experiment willy-nilly.  Thanks for all responses.  I will update as we move forward.  

post #6 of 9

Chicks can get infections from hatching eggs and incubators. E.coli is a common one, but also pseudomonas, and others are common. There are special eye drops that may treat those containing antibiotics. Cipro should treat complicated eye infections that wouldn't respond to Terramycin ointment or Vetericyn eye gel. Here are a couple of sources to buy cipro if your local vet can't prescribe locally:  


Ciprofloxacin Ophthalmic Solution 0.3%, 5 ml

$10.49 from Allivet Pet Pharmacy
15,722 seller reviews
Pink Eye · Liquid · 0.17 ounce
Ciprofloxacin ophthalmic solution is used to treat bacterial infections of the eye including conjunctivitis. Ciprofloxacin works by stopping the ...

Ciprofloxacin 0.3% Opthalmic Solution 5 mL

$9.99 from California Pet Pharmacy
2,265 seller reviews
Ciprofloxacin is an antibiotic used for treatment of a wide range of infections in dogs and cats.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hey all, just a quick update.  Have done the following: increased circulation where birds are being kept, given basic saline drops to the affected birds (only the Easter Eggers), given hard boiled egg daily for 3 days, put a little VetRX in water (they have continuously had electrolytes available).  Today all the birds look good.  No watery or irritated eyes.  Everyone active and eating well.  No other symptoms.  I think this was largely that the wider eyes of the Easter Eggers were being irritated by dust from the pine shavings.

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Below are the three birds who had the watery eyes.  These pictures were taken today.  They also liked the crushed garlic in their water.

post #9 of 9
They are looking good, much improved.
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